Welcome toBig Heart World

Big Heart World is an initiative produced by Sparkler in collaboration with Noggin that enables parents and educators to help children explore what it means to have a “big heart” and how to grow one. This means:

  • Learning About Me — Awareness of self: identity & belonging, feelings and self-regulation
  • Learning About You — Awareness of others: empathy, appreciation of diversity
  • Learning About Us — Relationships with others: interpersonal strategies

To succeed in school and in life, children can’t just be little mathematicians, readers, and scientists; they need to grow confident in themselves; they need to understand others; and they need to work together with others to solve problems. Educators and pediatricians often refer to this set of skills as “social and emotional” skills. We like to think of them as what it takes to have “a big heart.”

“Heart” skills are always important, but they are especially top-of-mind today as we cope with global pandemic, inequality, and social discord. Families and educators are wondering: 

  • How can I help my child manage feelings, especially anger, frustration, and sadness?
  • How can I help my child develop social and communication skills when they’re separate from peers? 
  • How can I prepare my child to “phase back in” and restart “normal” life? 

Big Heart World is a place where parents, caregivers, and educators can ask and answer big questions related to children’s social and emotional learning. If you’re wondering how to help your child express their feelings, figure out friendships, share, get ready to go back into a classroom, or learn what makes them special, this site is for you. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the pandemic, school closures, and endless change and transition, this site is for you. If you feel like you can’t handle one more tantrum and you want to know what your child is really trying to tell you when they act out, this site is for you. 

Each month, Big Heart World will provide new science-based, engaging content, including Noggin’s Big Heart Beats music videos, answers from experts, podcasts, play-based learning activities, and more. 

The work draws from a body of research that recognizes the vital importance of these skills to children’s positive outcomes. Social and emotional development in early childhood lays the foundation for children’s development throughout life. Helping young children build the skills today to develop positive relationships, feel confident in themselves, identify and manage their emotions, and stand up for what is right, will help them to succeed in school and transform them into the leaders and change-makers of tomorrow (C. C. Raver, 2002).

Below, learn more about the themes Big Heart World will explore so you know what to expect.

We’ve all been through a lot in the last year. Take a deep breath. Let’s build up ourselves; let’s build up our kids. Let’s build big hearts. 

How wonderful would it be if everyone lived in a Big Heart World?

Upstanding: Unit 8

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” — The Lorax by Dr. Seuss

“Stay strong. Stand up. Have a voice.” – Shawn Johnson

There’s a lot of “wrong” in the world that EACH OF US — big or small — can help to right.

Upstanders are brave people who stand up and take action when they see something that isn’t right or fair. They use their voices to take a stand against what they see as wrong — from litter in their neighborhood community garden and name calling on the playground to racial injustice and polluted oceans. Being an upstander requires good communication skills, confidence, and empathy!

There are many skills that children need to access in order to be an upstander. All of the Big Heart World skills that you practiced with your child in previous months like knowing themselves, feeling a sense of belonging, empathizing with others, and skills related to friendship and problem solving will contribute to their ability to stand up and speak up.

In the preschool years, children tend to have a keen sense of justice and equity, and are often happy to voice their opinions. As children reach elementary school, the lines between upstanding and “tattling” become blurry. If your child is worried about getting others “in trouble” or being a “tattle tale,” here is a simple way to help them understand the difference: If telling a grown-up will help someone — a friend, peer, stranger, or even themselves — and if it’s a problem that they can’t solve on their own — then telling a grown-up is the right thing to do. 

As children explore the activities, books, music, and other content from Unit 8, they will practice supporting others and being upstanders when they see something that is not right. 

They can think about how other people might feel if they were not being treated fairly, and how they’d feel about it, too. They will start to see themselves as active community members and as change makers.

Big Heart World: What to Expect

What does it mean to have a big heart? That’s a BIG questionBig Heart World will roll out content each month, which will empower you to teach your children about “me” (identity & belonging, feelings, and similarities & differences), then about “others” (friendship, empathy, and problem solving), and about “us” (helping, standing up, and citizenship). Here’s what to expect:

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Identity & Belonging

Our identity makes us who we are. This includes our skills, passions, preferences, physical traits, culture, and language.

Learn more about unit 1.

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Feelings

Identifying emotions and managing them helps us build relationships and overcome challenges.

Learn more about unit 2.

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Similarities & Differences

Recognizing similarities and differences helps us appreciate that we have a lot in common and that everyone is unique.

Learn more about Unit 3.

Friendship
Friendship

Interacting with others and treating them with kindness helps us form strong relationships.

Empathy
Empathy

Walking in others’ shoes helps us understand others and form stronger relationships with them.

Learn more about unit 5.

Problem Solving
Problem Solving

Sharing, listening to others, solving problems together, and taking turns helps us collaborate with others.

Helping
Helping

Being kind, fair, and helping others helps us become great friends, neighbors, and community members.

Learn more about Unit 7.

Upstanding
Upstanding

When we see something wrong, we can learn to stand up for what’s right. Learning to stand up will help children grow up to be change-makers.

Global Citizenship
Global Citizenship

Each of us is part of a BIG world: together, we can make the world a better, kinder place.